New initiative aims to cut plate waste in dining services

Concordia College announces their goal to reduce plate waste 50 percent by the year 2020. The Taste Not Waste campaign aims to reduce plate waste by increasing awareness in order to promote a behavioral change at Concordia College. The USDA reports 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the United States is never eaten. This contributes to many worldwide concerns such as the hunger epidemic, elevated rates of methane emissions, and short supply of resources. Concordia College is not exempt from this statistic, wasting an average of 9870 lbs of plate waste per month from Anderson Commons alone, according to research from Fall 2016. Nationally, the USDA and the EPA have declared their goal to reduce plate waste 50 percent by 2030 and the Taste Not Waste campaign supports these efforts. The Taste Not Waste campaign releases a variety of efforts today to engage in a campus wide conversation on this issue and drive individ- uals to think about the amount of food they put on their plates.

Taste Not Waste is the brainchild of two professors, Dr. Joan Kopperud (English) and Dr. Meredith Wagner (Nutrition and Dietetics). Both professors have spent extensive time researching plate waste reduction specifically at Concordia with their students. Wagner, as the Director of the Concordia

College Dietetic Internship, works with the dietetic interns to conduct the plate waste with the help of field research done by Kopperud’s IWC class. The professors and their students, in conjunction with the collaborative efforts of Dining Services, track the trends of plate waste coming out of the front of the house of Anderson Commons.

“It is our hope that increasing awareness of plate waste in Anderson Commons will make a significant and lasting impact on the Concordia campus to help change the culture of food waste to one of sustainable food practices.” said Wagner about the effort.

Taste Not Waste will work for the next 4 years to conduct events, organize information, and track the progress of the goal to reduce plate waste. To keep up with their efforts, go to their Taste Not Waste Facebook page and be ready for the first large scale event; the arrival of renowned food activist and author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), Jonathan Bloom, to campus the week of February 17, 2017.

Taste Not Waste: The Taste Not Waste campaign launched Nov. 3, 2016 with the full support of President Craft as a campaign sponsored by Concordia College. The effort is comprised of various current students and staff members who work toward plate waste sustainability.

This article was submitted by Sarah Kemp, contributing writer.

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